Shot on 16mm, ENYS MEN is a mind-bending Cornish folk horror story set in 1973 that unfolds on an uninhabited island off the Cornish coast. A wildlife volunteer’s (Mary Woodvine) daily observations of a rare flower take a dark turn into the strange and metaphysical, forcing both her and viewers to question what is real and what is nightmare. Evoking the feeling of discovering a reel of never-before-seen celluloid unspooling in a haunted movie palace, this provocative and masterful vision of horror puts Mark Jenkin into the conversation as one of the Britain’s most exciting and singular filmmakers. ENYS MEN director, producer, writer and cinematographer Mark Jenkin (BAIT) joins us for a conversation on working with lead actor Mary Woodvine and how using his own lo-fi approach to filmmaking he was able to weave together a haunting sound design, discordant music, and a 1970’s style cinematography combined with a stark location that gives ENYS MEN a vaguely familiar folk tale its tormenting power.
About the filmmaker – Mark Jenkin is a filmmaker based in West Cornwall. His latest film BAIT (“The real thing – hypnotically strange” Peter Bradshaw) produced by Early Day Films, premiered at the Berlinale 2019 and is now available to watch on BFI Player. The film won 7 awards including a BAFTA for Outstanding Debut by a British Writer, Director or Producer. Other recent films include the mid-length BRONCO’S HOUSE (“A visually stunning and formally adventurous swirl of pure cinema” Mark Kermode) and British Council promoted short films DAVID BOWIE IS DEAD and VERTICAL SHAPES IN A HORIZONTAL LANDSCAPE (BFI London Film Festival, Oberhausen, Aesthetica, Edinburgh International Film Festival). He recently shot a short horror entitled HARD, CRACKED THE WIND and his next feature ENYS MEN will be another genre outing. He is also developing a screenplay (having won The Nick Darke Award for Writing in 2014) concerning the life of primitive St. Ives painter (and great, great, great grandfather) Alfred Wallis. He is an associate of Falmouth University where he lectures Film, is the author of the Silent Landscape Dancing Grain 13 Film Manifesto (promoting the aesthetic and logistic possibilities of handmade film) and is a member of The Newlyn Society of Artists.
“It feels like a throwback to “Wicker Man”-era folk-tinged freakouts — confounding enough to not be everyone’s cup of tea, but for those ready for a pot of its brew, plenty transporting and tingling.” – Robert Abele, Los Angeles Times
“Enys Men is a midnight movie made from the bare, bleached bones of works from an era when that term meant something, and for contemporary audiences that may not get the references but understand the universal appeal of dread.” – David Fear, Rolling Stone
“The writer-director’s use of colour 16mm, his (now-famous) 1970s Bolex clockwork camera, and post-production sound anoint Enys Men as the Kernowek equivalent of such classic English folk horrors as The Wicker Man.” – Tara Brady, Irish Times